Pfizer, BioNTech to seek emergency coronavirus vaccine approval Friday

Coronavirus Vaccine

FILE – This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. On Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, Pfizer said an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech will seek emergency government approval for their coronavirus vaccine, as the U.S. aims to begin administering doses by the end of the year.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the companies would seek an emergency use authorization Friday from the Food and Drug Administration. The application and clinical trial data will be reviewed by an independent board of scientists before approval is granted.

Azar says: “Hope and help are on the way.”

This week the companies said their vaccine was 95% effective.

Moderna is expected to file for emergency approval for its own vaccine candidate in the coming weeks.

The vaccine news comes amid a rapid increase of new cases and a rise in positivity rates across the country. At a White House coronavirus task force briefing Thursday afternoon addressing the increase in cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed the importance of doubling down on public health measures in the interim.

“We actually need to double down on the public health measures as we’re waiting for that help to come, which will be soon. We’ll be getting vaccine doses into people at high priority at the end of December,” Fauci said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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